New Gene Discovery may
lead to Drug Treatment for GBM Brain Cancer
Research published today in the journal Cancer Research describes a gene
EGFRvIII that generates a unique pattern of signaling. This is a
distinct gene that that causes a specific brain cancer to grow and
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a cancer of the supportive tissue of
the brain and accounts for 60 percent of brain tumors in adults over the
age of 50 years. The team at UT Southwestern Medical Center discovered
the cell-signaling mechanism instrumental in the most common brain
cancer in adults.
Researchers already knew that tumor cells proliferate out of control by
a mechanism characterized by an abnormally high number of copies of the
epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR).
According to Dr.
Amyn Habib, assistant professor of neurology at UT Southwestern and the
study's senior author, the overexpression of EGFR is a “striking
feature” of GBM and is present in 40 to 50 percent of the tumors.
The EGFR overexpression results in an uncontrolled multiplication of
both normal EGFR and a mutant form called EGFRvIII. The EGFRvIII is
distinct from EGFR. Habib said "The better we understand the signaling
mechanisms of the normal and the mutant EGFR, the better we can
manipulate or control them, our findings suggest that you have to target
both the mutant and the normal EGFR based on the mechanism we
standard treatment for GBM is surgical removal of the tumor, followed by
radiation and chemotherapy. It is hoped these findings could eventually
lead to a therapeutic drug or drugs that destroy the brain cancer
leaving the healthy cells untouched.
Best Syndication Staff Writer
Books on Cancer
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